This story happened several weeks ago, but is a follow up on the puppy mill case in Iowa covered here back in October. Breeder Daniel Gingerich of the Seymour, Iowa Amish community surrendered over 500 dogs in early November, and has been banned from breeding and selling dogs:

Daniel Gingerich hoarded more than 500 dogs throughout his multiple properties in Seymour, Iowa, which were all in equally poor condition, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals announced on Tuesday. In a federal indictment filed in late September accusing Gingerich of violating the Animal Welfare Act, or the AWA, prosecutors described in graphic detail the dead, malnourished and injured dogs found on his properties.

The puppy mill operator agreed Tuesday to surrender all his animals. He is permanently banned from breeding and selling dogs, according to court documents. It is unclear if or when he is due back in court.

Gingerich, whose lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment, received a breeding license in October 2019 from the Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for monitoring and inspecting breeder and broker facilities. According to the ASPCA, Gingerich’s indictment is the latest example of the USDA’s failed oversight of breeders. The nonprofit sued the department in June for failing to enforce the AWA, a 1966 law meant to ensure animals’ safety.

It sounds like he was an especially negligent breeder:

In the two years after Gingerich received his permit, he was slapped with at least 100 citations for not following the AWA. The majority of write-ups were issued after March, according to the indictment. The USDA then suspended his license for 21 days in September. That same month, the department moved to permanently revoke Gingerich’s license.

Federal prosecutors said inspectors with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services were repeatedly denied access to Gingerich’s facilities between the winter and spring of 2020. It wasn’t until this past March that they gained access, according to the indictment. They returned in April, May, July and September.

But Gingerich, investigators say, was repeatedly noncompliant when inspectors requested information about where the dogs were being held and for access to the facilities to confirm their welfare. He also failed to “provide adequate veterinary care, nutrition, and a safe environment to those dogs,” court documents said.

Gingerich hid sickly dogs in a horse stall contaminated with layers of dirt, horse manure and dog feces, federal investigators allege. But inspectors noticed a golden retriever in the stable was one they previously instructed Gingerich to take to a veterinarian. When they returned, the dog was in an “emaciated state,” according to the indictment.

Inspectors also found dead dogs on the property near the horse stalls that once hid them.

“Gingerich’s indifference to the well-being of the dogs is apparent in his failure to remove even dead dogs from his facility,” prosecutors said.

When we see a case as bad as this one making national news, I’m not surprised that the Amish as a whole get pinned with blame. There have been other egregious examples of bad breeders in the Plain community in the past, though to be honest I haven’t seen a lot of cases like this making news in recent years.

Dog breeding remains popular in some Amish communities, though “Amish breeder” certainly does not automatically equate to what Gingerich was doing here. Some are doing it on a much smaller scale, which seems to be a necessity to provide dogs adequate care, not least of which is proper socialization. What else can be said but good for these dogs, and hopefully this case at the least provides a message that breeding operations like this are not acceptable.

Amish-made cheese

You might also like:

Get the Amish in your inbox

    Question on the Amish? Get answers to 300+ questions in 41 categories at the Amish FAQ.